the dada that punk should have become: rfm on chow mwng, robert ridley-shackleton, sons of david ginola, d. coelacanth

August 13, 2017 at 7:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Chow Mwng – ULOT-CA  (NWSAS)

Robert Ridley Shackleton – The Opera (Chocolate Monk)

The Sons of David Ginola – Blood Too Thick Symptoms (The House Organ)

D. Coelacanth – Tony Eats Screws (No Label)

chow mwng

 Chow Mwng – ULOT-CA  (NWSAS) sold-out CDR, poetry book and original collage art all presented in a card box and digital album

Truly outstanding song-a-delic bedroom-pop from Wales.

Fill a box with old guitars, keyboards and crooked dreams – bung it all on to your four-track and mix with patience and understanding – that’s Chow Mwng for ya!

Following the trail set by travellers as diverse as The Shadow Ring or Storm Bugs this is a goodly clatter full of fizzing energy and ideas.  Ash Cooke is responsible for this hectoring collection and his vocal delivery, like a Welsh Sexton Ming narrating a Lovecraftian episode of Fingerbobs, is full of gold star moments.

Lyrically he moves from psychedelic domestic observation, to dream-logic vignette by way of sharp social satire.

EXAMPLE: ‘Pop Music is Dead’, a caustic riposte to anyone lazy enough to rest on their local laurels and a half-assed musical approach.  The Super Furry Animals, Marc Riley, 6 Music and Arts Funding all get a kicking from Mwng’s hobnailed boot

 “Like musical Brexit they voted to leave!”

Tune-wise it’s a really loose jam.  A dry collection of skewed songs deeply entrenched in a DIY Maginot line.

EXAMPLE: ‘Tara of Banana’.  A collapsing structure built of plastic pies.  Wind-up machines excite guitar strings in the most eccentric manner.  Squeals and wriggles.  My personal hotspot – The Welsh Kecak!

Life-affirming tunage!

rrs2

Robert Ridley Shackleton – The Opera (Chocolate Monk) CDr

Instant composition, phlegm and confessional come together for RRS’s new operatic piece.  But scrub all you know about fat shrieking and overpriced pomp.  This is opera as domestic diary, opera as rambling monologue, opera as consumer advice!

The clip-clop of a dodgy tape machine is an undercurrent to much of the 78 minutes.  The hiss of recycled tape the orchestral underscore, punnet-scrunch a percussive interlude and a ‘shiff-shiff’ of that patented pocket-jazz sound the crowd-pleasing refrain that gets used on car adverts and sports shows.

So like a diary (with 30 separate tracks suiting sweet September, April, June and November) things move between the mundane and insightful.  Sound-wise, much is indistinct and unclear, it’s like gently melting into another’s mind; thoughts become confused when slipping between individuals and magnetic interference fuzzez the edges.

Some of the subtle bubbling tracks (keyboard, ailing drum machine and packaging material?) are a kind of punk Francisco Lopez with added cassette case ‘klak’.   Others are brief street scenes, unboxings of unnamed produce and notes-to-self.

A religious air infects many of the monologues suggesting Shack is the warmest of messiahs teaching his apostles about the dangers of sunburn turning the testaments into a Game of Thrones-style drama while they stare meekly at his sandals.

The drifting between short snippets is as natural as a daydream and I’m gathering wool (and scribbling notes of course) until the hiss retreats for a time and Shak barks:

“Did you really expect there to be no funk in this opera?”

The true heir to Shalamar mugs the keytar, extolling the virtues of getting loose with ‘card’ and diverting my rooster strut with lines like:

“Everyone needs peace, err…have you seen my niece?  Yeah.  Err…she’s a trouper, it was her birthday recently actually.”

And the funk-jams just keep on coming…durty and greasy Kentucky-fried jams that stand out like hot peppers in among the shuffling shuss…I’m minded of Gwilly Edmondez in the chart zone and wonder, out loud again, how long can it be until these guyz hook up?

Pay attention Bob Dylan. The Cardboard Prince has not left the building and has no intention to until the shops open again.

david ginola

The Sons of David Ginola – Blood Too Thick Symptoms (The House Organ) 3 inch CDr and A6 booklet and copyright free digital album (s)

A new coupling from super-brains and conceptualists, Murray Royton-Ward and Kevin Sanders.  This is one classy disc of gentle rippled popping and supreme geography.

‘An Enormous Bit of Very Old Pipe’ opens this tidy package and first impressions are like walking through a bog; this sound pulls on your extremities.  A heavy gravitational fudge, a thick grey sugary wave sets the tone for intelligent and masterfully placed scrapings and stretchings.  Metal strings are pulled until they squeak their copper brightness to accompany the silt-like shuffle of atoms below.

I’m reminded, curiously, of Amy Winehouse and her finest pipe-based lyric,

“…and I’m the tiny penny rolling up the walls inside.”

That’s perfect Amy…I am that tiny penny too.

The lengthier, darker second and final track ‘Kabra Kebabra’ is a submersible vibrating gently in the sea.  Enormous tentacles wrap the sub and their muscular flexing sends invisible waves booming through the pressurised interior causing event the saltiest mariner to clap their hands to their ears and cry, “Doom!”

On a practical note this fancy package is available on several formats: physical disc & booklet, regular download (but not on that bandcamp nonsense, these cats host for real) on the clear and darkweb for which you’ll need a Tor Browser and the kind of digital knowhow that slips through my brain cracks.

These guys positively encourage peer-to-peer sharing, comment and source-code sharing!  Go nuts you boffins.

tony eats screws

D. Coelacanth – Tony Eats Screws (No Label) CDr

In another universe popular entertainment resisted moving images and the damn TV to celebrate the radio.  In this universe not only has radio become king but the art of listening is elevated to a spiritual duty.

This mysterious and modest disc consists of one Mr D Coelacanth as he staggers and blusters through a pair of readings that celebrate the dada that punk should have become.

Senseless snippets of found sound, TV noise, wrecked R n’B and empty noise-blisters act like scaffolding to keep the brain structure rigid.  They form a much needed cage to hold the pulsating narrative that’s as daffy as nougat, as sinister as blood-stained scissors.

In four-four time speech-grenades explode softly behind my eyes.  They go something like this…

“The plumber left me with a formless kitchen…I can’t cook here my skull is enlightened.”

“The corpse wore perfumed shoes.”

“Fresh Bacon! I was sprouting.”

“That’s a pointed leg you’re holding…listen to the steroids.”

There’s an obsession with larva, muck and bodily grease.  Each snarled exhalation is wreathed in decaying tape-noise, smothered in grot and breathed in an unholy sequence that defies categorisation.   The only way my tiny brain can hold on is to file this under Scandinavian Saga gone ‘scat factory’ or Luke Poot possessing the god Bragi if you prefer.

I’ve had a quick look on the computer and there literally is no way to get hold of this disc.  Uncle Idwal passed it on to me personally after riffling on its manic-brilliance here.  I’ve drawn a dead end searching for Tony Moto who handed this disc to Idwal while holidaying in Greece.  I asked my few Mediterranean-based friends about Tony or D. Coelacanth.  But they texted back with nothing but ‘incomprehensible shrug’ emojis.

Maybe this is the only copy?

You want a piece of this nut-scratcher?  Course you do.  I’ll mail it, free of charge, to whoever leaves the first comment below.

Pass it on reader, pass it on…

NWSAS

Chocolate Monk

The House Organ?

-ooOOoo

the intersection of machinery and imagination: marlo de lara on dj crackle and dj snip, kit downes and tom challenger, klaas hübner, matt rogers and laurie tompkins

August 6, 2017 at 8:50 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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DJ Crackle and DJ Snip – Broken Records Phantasy (Ono Records)

Kit Downes & Tom Challenger – Vyamanikal (Slip)

Klaas Hübner – Sog (Slip)

Matt Rogers – SK√-1 (Slip)

Laurie Tompkins – Heat, War, Sweat, Law (Slip)

crackle and snip

DJ Crackle and DJ Snip – Broken Records Phantasy (Ono Records) Cassette (sold out) and digital album

It ain’t nothing new to be a fan of Stuart Chalmers in these parts. From his 2015 Crater Lake performance to his recent show with BBBlood and Posset at Fuse, Leeds/Bradford is delighted when the Chalmers blows through the area.

It is of no surprise to me that he extends beyond his layered noise sets to the world of plunderphonics with such ease. In the persona of DJ Crackle, he reassigns sounds in rhythmic and parallel arrangements.  The sounds are sourced by Dj Skip (Michael Holland) whose projects include Ono, Keswicklemon, Fulbaechop, OnoTesla, Islington Mill Creativity Exchange, and Show and Thumb.

There is a balance of intention and improvisation in these tracks. The first, ‘Beach Clouds’ sounds exactly like its title, riding smooth continuous waves into the album. From here the tracks become more cut-and-paste based with beats that vacillate from halted/stilted to electropical.

The re-purposing of R & B vocal tracks with percussion in ‘Brandy Songs for Supercat’ to ‘White Moonglows’’ electronic bending of a stretched drum and time elapsed words/moans makes this album both playful and mind bending.

Ending with ‘Torch Song for Trumpet’, a high-tide call back to the first track, one is crashed on the shores with sonic waves licking one’s collapsed body.

In some ways, I find work like this more psychedelic than the psychedelic genre itself. Disorganizing captured sounds and setting them free in the air – the whole heart and soul of plunderphonics is captured in this release.

Once the sounds erupt, they become free and no longer are tied to their origins.
 

Kit & Tom 1

Kit Downes & Tom Challenger – Vyamanikal (Slip) CD and digital album

Upon reading their press release, it becomes clear this accomplished duo does several site-specific free jazz/drone tinted improvisations with saxophone and various organs/harmoniums:

“Recorded at five Suffolk churches during a 2015 Aldeburgh Music residency, Vyamanikal deftly explores the native nuances and acoustics of six organs and their surrounding environment.  Downes’ organ playing is alternately delicate and thunderous, teasing out unearthly vibrations from converted harmoniums and mighty, century-old, manual organs like Framlingham’s ‘Thamar Organ’. Challenger’s sax lines act as a conduit between the instrument and their locale, probing errant pipe tones for interferences, and embellishing distant birdsong.”

While the dual tones achieved by the organs are sustained, the saxophone flies with hummingbird silence and delicate presence. It is dream inducing and parasympathetically rich – anti-‘fight or flight’ music or perhaps at times, like in ’Sa,’ it swells into a disconcerted moment.

Yet these nightmare anxieties are delivered underscored by grounding chords. The saxophone in ‘Vistri’ becomes more central, and in its minimal interactions with the diegetic ambient sounds (of birds and wind) the track in some ways is mostly filled with places for listening. The architectures potential is audible and is by far the most site specific on the concluding track ‘Nya-Aya’.

I (not Radio Free Midwich) question the explanation, necessity, and usage of a Sanskrit word. It is a trend that is worth examining in experimental music when white Western music and art practitioners, use language or culture not of their own. There are elements of exoticism or cultural appropriation when language or culture is reappropriated for endeavours like these, especially without the presence of people which inspired the work.

Their press release states: “Named after the ancient Sanskrit term for flying machines – ‘Vaimānika Shāstra’. “  I ask, what is gained by using the Sanskrit word versus the wording ‘flying machines’? Does the album get mileage by this choice of making a nod to Sanskrit? I would argue, the album does not require a cultural derivative to be enjoyed. In its context and completion, it is well composed and highly enjoyable.

It demands repeat listens and room for wondering.

 
klaas hobner

Klaas Hübner – Sog (Slip) C50 Cassette, CD (sold out) and digital album
 

sswsw

Pictured above is ’sswsw’:

“Five laboratory oscillators that generate sine waves of different frequencies, each modulated in volume by mechanical metronomes. The metronomes rest on a light wooden board which sits on 2 aluminium tubes. This setup references Christian Huygens’ 1657 experiments with synchronisation. The free swinging board slowly synchronises the movement of metronome and therefore the modulation of the sine waves.  Spontaneous synchronisation with sine waves was developed as a performance within Corsin Gaudenz’s theatre work ‘Time is on My Side’.” (album notes)

Check out a video of all that good stuff here. Recorded at Rote Fabrik, Zürich, March 2013.

Upon opening the album, with its artist notes and images, I was extremely excited! The album description of the artist alone delighted me and the various media forms in which he explores: “SOG is the magisterial Slip debut of Klaas Hübner, the Berlin-based sound sculptor, improviser, and instrument-builder whose installations coax out uncanny chants from whirly tubes, ceiling fans, styrofoam, and cassette tapes.”

Hübner’s construction and composition are equally beautiful. While the sounds are merely one dynamic of the experiments, the process to its execution is intriguing. Hübner’s work takes up space.

They visually are stunning in their technological construction. As objects, they are intricate and shiny. Conceived as an extension or expansions of various sound and technological historical experiments, as in ‘sswsw’, the work is enthralling.  The work is the material.

One is very aware that these processes/objects emit natural sounds at times, they are built with hands and structures. Sounds meet at the intersection of machinery and imagination. The tape loops used in the ‘schwarzwald’ installations are ugly and light. This vacillation is what pushes the instrumentation beyond many tape loop releases/recordings.

music-for-ceiling-fan-tubes

Music for Ceiling Fans and Tubes: “Lying on their backs below a ceiling fan which rotates just above their bodies, Lysandre Coutu-Sauvé and Klaas Hübner play this composition. One whirly tube is attached to the fan generating a permanent hum, while the two play small tubes as flutes and percussion on the fan blades.”

Watch this goof here.  Recorded at T10 studio, Berlin, January 2015.

This not to say that the compositions lack melodic or traditional musical structures.  A constant beat is provided while flutes guide us to down a wandering path. It does not have a destination but rather like two flutes in conversation they move across various ecospheres.

Perhaps the best part of these compositions is the footage that accompanies the pieces in the notes. One can listen to a track, experience the sounds as they stand, and then revisit the actual set up and machinery used through Vimeo. I particularly recommend listening to the organ and welding track ‘Chateau Poulet’ and opening the footage of the performance. It is refreshing to see works like this in our review pile.

I enjoyed the well conceived nature and the sensual complexities of Hübner’s work.
 

matt rogers

Matt Rogers – SK√-1 (Slip) C30 Cassette, sold out CD and digital album

Press release description: “SK√-1 is the debut Slip missive from British composer Matt Rogers: a suite of solo scorchers belched straight out of the jack of a GravesEnd Casio SK1.”

If one were to take an orchestral arrangement and push it through a misfiring Commodore 64, you might get the sounds Matt Rogers fired in this album.

Unlike the overt sonic attacks of harsh noise, these compositions are strategic and evolve into several fronts. Don’t get me wrong, you are still being attacked. Perhaps it is the instrumentation evoking Cold War computerized technology or the laser-like precision of the ripples and oscillations.

One never is comfortable and even in the pauses and sustained notes, there is no peace. It is unrelenting in its persistence and yet sounds like it is crumbling in its execution.

While these are composed pieces, the affect is the immediacy of a live noise set in which danger and immediacy are integral to the experience.

Then track 5, SK√-1 ■■, arrives on deck. Like a circus-tent taunter or a hypnotic slot machine, it is joyous and bouncy yet still demanding…

 

  • Track 6, SK√-1 □□, is more pensive and thoughtful.

  • Track 7, SK√-1 ▪■, is a call to re-organize the efforts, a gathering and planning of resources.

  • Track 8, SK√-1 □, is the victory of the invaders, littered with small uprisings.

It is not difficult to imagine a space war of sorts listening to this album.

Another impressive release from Slip.

laurie tompkins

Laurie Tompkins – Heat, War, Sweat, Law (Slip) C25 Cassette (with fold-out A3 poster of ‘business wanker’ artwork) CD (sold out) and digital album

Laurie Tompkins work reminds me of early K Records, like Beat Happening on too many drugs.  Or maybe angry cats?

Embracing unprocessed sounds and the humanness of voice, it is absurd and yet structured. Without reading as intentional, each track is present to the sounds played with. The work is very human-centered, not like Carl Rogers’s psychology, but from where it originates.

It is pure play, touching objects, feeling surfaces, and hollering at friends. It is undirected and let loose to build, fail, and climb. Sometimes solidifying into group efforts and other times the mere audible process of attempting to connect and communicate as a group.

The lack of digital instrumentation is welcomed and with percussion often sounding like handclaps, snaps, and stomps, the definition of instrument seems to be made up on the spot. The last track ‘Regret’ is the most song-like in its structure. Almost like the party at the end of a chaotic time, the track attempts to find a harmony in the rhythms played like a broken hand crank machine.

The album is reminiscent of absurdist noise projects like Usurper and The Earwigs, something beyond intentional humour.

Unlike the rest of the Slip releases, it comes off like sonic polaroids after your best friend comes over to play and now the house is trashed.

Definitely a choice for those who enjoyed unprocessed sounds/recordings.

 

Stuart Chalmers’ Batcave

Slip Bandcamp

-ooOOOoo-

vintage segs: rfm on binnsclagg, dayglow exploding super infinite, dr:wr and katz mulk

July 30, 2017 at 6:16 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Binnsclagg arranged by THF Drenching – Bring Back Hanging (Chocolate Monk)

Dayglow Exploding Super Infinite – Weightless and Everywhere, Drizzled in Honey (disillusion.dot.dot.dot)

DR:WR – Our Shadow Days (Eps 1 – 3) (No label)

Katz Mulk – Husks (Singing Knives)

 binnsclaggTHF

Binnsclagg arranged by THF Drenching – Bring Back Hanging (Chocolate Monk) CDr

Operatic junk-melt from two salty coves is stirred by a third with a runcible spoon.

Beard, Karl M V Waugh & non-beard, Verity Spott have cooked up a shot of pure Binnsclagg and injected straight into Drenno’s eyeball.  The last flickering spasms from the Council of Drent’s most celebrated son register on some sort of Beaufort scale (for skronk) and gets marked-up in felt tip ‘fresh gale – twigs break off trees, cluttered sounds smudge gravity.’

Clear enough yeah?

Sense-valves are squeezed firmly from the middle to let the chum squirm rudely out, forming foul brown pyramids:

 

rhythmic pulses throb like a sore thumb,

granulated ripping precedes a spoken word interlude,

old coins are rubbed on a vintage slate,

 

the TV chatter is tuned to the Mr T show,

lobbying voices blabber and honk,

synths are employed as security guards,

 

overloaded sections create vital grab-zones to ponder and chew bitter herb,

ghostly organs invoke the dark heart of Blackpool; pure shredding

six-handed – with a swingers firm grip

 

A mess?  Of course not.

Bring Back Hanging aches like the tight tangle of poetry.

dayglow

Dayglow Exploding Super Infinite – Weightless and Everywhere, Drizzled in Honey (disillusion.dot.dot.dot) cheap-o digital album

This accidental-static, fluff osmosis is exactly the kind of sound The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and their foul type have tried to scrub out of existence, stomp into history, for years

The exact moral opposite of Anthony, Flea (and the other two) this rotten, fluttering pop crackles in my ears like a dry cotton bud chasing a rogue insect for about 37 minutes.

There’s no funk or no punk in this energetic splutter; indeed there is no jazz or blues either.  But this is unmistakably rock n’ roll, the closing moments of ‘Collapsing Droplets’ as badazz as Link Wray’s low-down Rumble; greasy D.A. aloft and flick knife tucked into his waistband.

If all else is true the lengthy ‘Once we Considered Surrender’ is surely the ballad, a slow dance of chittering typewriter keys and radio interference.  Somehow wetter than its companions the spitting sonics play out more like a garden hose being repeatedly stepped on-off-on-off in a herky-jerky dance.

Uncomplicated, but of course vibrating with coded meanings only the in-crowd can decode.

A whop-bam-a-loo-bop-a-whop-bam-boo!

drwr

DR:WR – Our Shadow Days (Eps 1 – 3) (No label) gratis digital album

A tone-desert as barren as Catterick Lorry Park

Oily loops of reverb’ed somethings snake in sinister circles; a gentle rumble is the slowest drummer – like yeast picked up the brushes.  ‘Dream Pollutants’ feels like some Replicant code-patch to increase anxiety and paranoia – take it slow Skin Jobs.

Lazily shifting shapes tip on hidden hinges to reflect a sooty light on ‘an attempt at exhuming nowhere’.  The see-saw effect makes this a meditative piece suitable for a trek in Nepal or charity shopping. Those times when you need to make peace with your creator (whoever she is) and open yourself to the bounty of the universe.  The final five minutes introduce giant’s steps plodding through the bog; slow and steady.

A thoughtless ohm thrown down a dark corridor? ‘Prebranded Features’ invokes Danielewski’s ‘House of Leaves ‘ with its eerie voicing’s that seem to endlessly descend into some unknowable horror.  Compact and neat this piece never stalls or chokes.  The layered lines lay as thick and deep as velvet; both opulent and oddly cloying.

But is it as bleak as the famed garrison town?  Give me answers dear reader.

katz mulk husks

Katz Mulk – Husks (Singing Knives) laser cut and risoprint booklet of performance notes with digital album

Three fine brains (Kearney, Morris, Knight) take a bunch of recordings made in public and private and wrap them up in a galactic stew with extra lashings of arm and leg movement.

This really is an arresting listen.  Each element: processed sound, voice and dripping percussion exists in a separate timeframe that I have to punch through sideways.  Viewed this way, along three separate planes, an extra dimension is revealed – a swooping movement that is felt like warm breath on the cheek rather than simply being seen or heard.

Like a velvet glove inside an iron fist…or should that be the other way around?  Heck…either way this disc demands attention.  I’ll settle for the ‘kid’s rattle full of dead wasps’ analogy; a sting in reverse, a memory of potential discomfort.

‘Temperament’ spills like wet chrome.  Including a cheeky reference to the band rather than the metal a future face presents itself – handsome in profile.

A processed whispering infects ‘Yes like a Cheetah.’ Below the chanting it squats waiting for the echoing ‘clack’ balancing the freezer burn amp-huffing on Andrea Kearney’s perfectly timed Cuban finger clicks.  High on rum I feel gloriously wasted.

Slushy-sound, slow like a glacier with levels of engagement pinned between the gritty ice?  I’m picking up much, much more than ‘A Leaf, A Gourd, A Sack’ anyways.  The tap-dancing of Ben Morris (on vintage segs  if I’m not mistaken) chatters like joke teeth, running this track out into a leaky void.

Moving furniture around an electricity sub-station seems to be the basis of ‘Y Gang’.  Ben Knight’s voice is a hyena chorus – savannah cackling and bone-crushing moans.    The floor flexes making way for a living tarmacadam demon!

That secret lemonade drinker, Beyonce Knowles, is clearly heard on title track ‘Husks’ her high-tech and passionate R’n’B blunted via discarded garden chairs and blackened disposable barbecues.

The full twelve minute masterpiece ‘Meat Stories’ continues the dripping theme.  I’m stuck in a time cave!  My mind is an echo chamber.  A discomforting shift occurs, like a muscular tick you’re trying to suppress when the silken sound shimmer suddenly turns sickly.  Like an overdose of mustard you can’t get the yellow whiff out of your hair for days.

Katz Mulk revel in the uneasy space between healthy concern and full-blown paranoia.

Chocolate Monk

disillusion.dot.dot.dot

dr-wr bandcamp

Singing Knives Records

 

-ooOOoo-

a yeasty upstairs room: rfm on blood stereo, stuart chalmers & neil campbell, rlw & dylan nyoukis and the custodians

July 23, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Blood Stereo – Where There’s Raw Grace in Garbage (Chocolate Monk)

Stuart Chalmers & Neil Campbell – In the Vicinity of the Reversing Pool (No Label)

RLW & Dylan Nyoukis – Gukuruguh  (Chocolate Monk)

The Custodians – The Grape That Takes No Prisoners (Chocolate Monk)

choc monk

Blood Stereo – Where There’s Raw Grace in Garbage (Chocolate Monk) CDr

The wet-slippage of malfunctioning MP3 files or possibly a functional electronic sound – say the alarm in an overloaded lift – starts this single 37 minute grunt.

Over the course of the next half hour there are more than a few moments to treasure…

  • Cannibalised spoken word overlaps a low moaning (licked forefinger rubbed over smoked glass coffee table?) in perfect sympathy…a ghostly parrot chatters the syllables in strict timing.
  • 10cc’s tape loops hijacked for the ‘oooooooo’s’ and pulled through Kolkata in a handcart.
  • “What is this shadow in which we come?”asks an inquisitive voice.
  • A brief movement scored for plastic packaging materials, ring modulator and rain on a tin roof.
  • The matrix recording of coins dropped into hot syrup is re-mastered with a Joe Meek mind.

The sink gurgles and psychedelic reportage are kept to a minimum though to concentrate on rhythm in all its forms, for this is Blood Stereo’s most spacious record yet.

Dry, echoing ‘clonks’ and ‘squarks’ are placed carefully into the mix – but not with a dictator’s swagger stick.  Rather the gardener’s crisp carrot!  These, sounds are encouraged to grow, swell and bloom.  The fullness of the harvest is a testament to this pair of green-thumbs, nipping and tweaking, composting and watering their bumper crop.

But fear not goofs! It’s not all serious trousers – there are still yuks in this mix.  The family (sound) portraits and the occasional snot-nosed sniff make an appearance before the truly beautiful, final movement of antique telephone engaged-tones and exotic hot breath-waffles.

Blood Stereo’s statement is clear…from the trash I create diamonds, from the unheard and unloved I fashion unique listening flaps.

Aye.  That’s the grace all right.

chalmers Campbell

Stuart Chalmers & Neil Campbell – In the Vicinity of the Reversing Pool (no label) CDr and digital album

Two monarchs ruling together in the kingdom of the Reversing Pool.

This super-sick collaboration takes the idea of loops and propels it into the negative zone where all laws of physics are crudely tippexed out.

That’s not to imply it’s lumpen.  No way! There’s a real delicacy to these swooping spirals, like a collection of rare ceramics spinning in a vortex.  You catch the occasional blurred pattern, a hint of Royal Doulton perhaps, that you can hang your hat on but your brain is mostly taken up with the sheer majesty of complex, cyclical movement (deep in the reversing pool).

‘Star Camera’ must be a J-Pop K-Hole.  The baffled drum loop, a soft beat, slipping in and out of reality as our avatar (probably dressed as Sailor Moon) squawks an electric fudge.

The whirling, swirling miasma doesn’t let up quickly.  Even the slurred vocal starting ‘Slipping Slipping’ is part of a greater orbit.  A sort of cosmic churning taking in smears of electric guitar and fizziling keyboard washes.

A reprieve is served on ‘Detitrus on Old Bank’ and ‘Migrating Dirge’.  They are looser for sure but spinning just as fast creating sparks that ‘zip’ off my xylophone and makes me ring my bicycle bell with abandon.  By the final minute ‘Detritus…’ has turned into solid jam.  ‘…Dirge’ jingles like pennies in a sock; a curious bank or preparation for the borstal breakout?

A joyful noise unto the creator – you bettchya sweet cakes.

rlw and dylan

RLW & Dylan Nyoukis – Gukuruguh  (Chocolate Monk) CDr

Stone-cold classic tape-werks from wonk-central: Chocolate Monk.

(adopts HBO voiceover pose)

“Previously on Chocolate Monk

Dee Nyoukis shifts his spittle at the Nefertiti Jazz Club, Gothenburg six or seven years ago and pledges the live tapes to one Ralf Wehowsky, legendary thinker and doer who unleashes several gallons of whup, whup all over them.

The result is an interchangeable reality sauce, or something. “

The Nyoukis-vox tapes are a shadowy presence and tend to inhabit the corners and dado rails of this mix while RLW slathers on huge scoops of itchy sound.  At times it’s a fine violin, a recognisable sound fragment that adds a kind of sign-post, indicating the way.

At others it’s a deep abstract scribble.  Like an IRCAM-heavy squall the sheets of sound are utterly alien and yet comfortably retro-fitted.  Before you can polish your specs a granulated ripping peppers things, spicing lengthy tracks ‘Left Shoe’ and ‘Right Shoe’ up hot!

Sounds tend to whizz more than I am used to filling up my room with blank swoops or popping-mud farts.  Dylan’s strangulated vox get pinched further via squealing Ralf-manoeuvres; pitched up through your appendix scar and out via your nostril.  A silver thread seems pulled through me aching Gulliver scrambling my mind eggs.

Can I mention Varèse in this punk-ass blog?  Eek! I guess I did.  Well some of the ‘Right Shoe’ movements are percussive clatter-boxes – part Ionisation part Goldie’s Metalheadz crew but all bookended with damp squelching like a thick milkshake being sucked.

A disc for damn voyagers and heroes.

custodians

The Custodians – The Grape That Takes No Prisoners (Chocolate Monk) CDr

Top-quality brain-scrape from double-saxed trio with added Bohman power!

If you were to do a google image search for ‘Englishness’ I’m sure the old clichés of well-oiled cricket pitches and fluffy cream teas get fetched up before long*.

But for me…nothing seems more English than a ragged mess of electronics/objects balanced on a pub table in a yeasty upstairs room.

Imagine the very polite anticipation as we stand around waiting for some beard (Adam Bohman) to rummage about in the confusion and wrench out an antique-shop clattering.  Picture the sympathetic tones coaxed out of some saxophones (Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch) – but not too loud mind!

And in this way The Custodians are the most English of groups.  Perhaps it’s the practice habitual orderly queuing creates that explains the space each player leaves making this an altogether charming listen.

But how do these Toby Jugs come together, what’s the chatter yeah?

A double-barrelled approach divides performances into either:

  • thin sax tones floating over industrious sawing and dry chitter / picture Ronnie Scott’s after closing time with the roaches skittering around brass holes or…
  • bi-narratives/tri-narratives weaving sense in, out and around both my pink ears like the dusty graveyard where radio plays go to die.  These talking pieces make the tired old brain work HARD.  It’s almost like there is a loop of text that keeps getting manipulated live between Adam, Adrian and Sue as painterly touches of soft-round brass spread buttery glee.  No mercy!

The audacious tri-narrative; ‘King and Queen-Traction and Wine’ squeezes my head-sponge good with its three-fold reading text-loops, pitched squeal and wonderful steam train noises making it all tip-top and tally ho!

A real Babel is unleashed on ‘Tlotm variations’ where our three friends are joined by linguaphone tapes running backwards / forwards / sideways pressing all sense though a reality sieve until all that remains is a flapping jaw and soft wet tongue.

*don’t bother to check the validity of this – in reality a Google Image search for Englishness is predictably awful

 

Neil Campbell Big Cartel / Stuart Chalmers Bandcamp

Chocolate Monk

-ooOOoo-

shrink into tight acorns: rfm on dugan kelly, rose buried in sand and artem spar

July 15, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Dugan Kelly – Surface Defect (No label)

Rose Buried in Sand – Dissolving Tape (Falt)

Artem Spar – Kassettenwerk 13-15 (Falt)

 dugan kelly

Dugan Kelly – Surface Defect (No label) pay-what-you-like digital album

By day Dugan Kelly is a chemist measuring and analysing teeny-tiny molecules for important clues – a man of science.  By night he weaves electro-acoustic performances into intensely complex ripples that bristle with rude life – a man of art.

And it’s this collision of bespectacled laboratory rigour and beret-wearing boho chops that makes this recording such a blistering listen.

The central piece, the twenty-two minute ‘First Time Back’ crackles with bad energy and a fresh minty spritz.  Some sort of firework is clenched in a fist; a hot shower of colourful sparks spits from one end as the cone-shaped body defies gravity with its unpredictable wriggles and bucks.  A bell is struck and the copper tone grabbed in powerful pincers is drawn out until the lumpen peal becomes a single wire – as thin and flexible as my ginger beard.

After time the chimes thicken out becoming bulbous and clattery until the hiss takes over once more – a high pressure hose scarring black marble.

Ultra High Frequency tones herald ‘Reprisals’.  Like a divinely oily martini before…

the ice-cold silver bullet (©WH Auden)

…it nips my head while remaining cool, sharp and exquisitely intoxicating.

The ‘always on’ hiss and fritz is chopped up with a rusty razor on ‘Hidden Pet’ a glitchly funk akin to an Autechre yoga pose .  It’s polystyrene Donk.  It’s Crisco Disco.  It’s dancing with icicle-brittle legs over a hot plate but it’s hard to tell the difference between salty sweat and the pure grey meltwater.

A blistering quiet rage all but obliterates the title ‘Surface Defect’ with its scuffed Perspex crackles and the ozone- electric stink of power cables pumping their deadly energy across a desolate moor.

The intensity not so much rises like a crescendo but pulls all material towards itself like a sonic black hole.

rose buried in sand

Rose Buried in Sand – Dissolving Tape (Falt) C18 cassette with tape-jizz wraparound artwork and name-your-price digital album

Absolutely faultless tape-loop fuckery from France.

This one’s got it all tape fans: grubby tape murk, hypnotic repetition, clever loop juxtapositions and that glorious, glorious low-end hiss.

The loop placement and source-material brushstrokes are masterful.  I’m guessing here readers but I reckon metal (the element not the genre) takes a starring role as various nugget, medallion and bell are rubbed, dropped and vibrated direct to tape loop.

When Greg Gorlen (for he is RBIS) has collected enough loopage he plays them back overlaying various timelags and hamfists.  At one point I’m nodding my chin to one antiseptic metallic clang, a dirty sigh, then a brass hinge squeak and dry cork rub – and before I know it I’ve run out of limbs to twitch and start looking for a family member to shake a damn leg.

And if you are thinking this is all boys’ club clunk and industrial clatter – think on.  The smoothest moments are pensive and delicate.  Gentle ripples of soft sound and the erotic squelch of the pause button adding a triple-X quality that drags me back to those endless summer afternoons in pursuit of mind-altering experiences.

And yet…I can only sum up by stating this is surely sixteen minutes of pure tape-future.

Tape loop as time travel eh?

artem spar

Artem Spar – Kassettenwerk 13-15 (Falt) C20 Cassette with crypto-letterist wraparound art work and free-as-fuck digital album

My goodness – another modern classic from Falt!

Artem, a Russian-born artist plying his tape-trade in Berlin is pushing in a slightly different direction from Greg (as hailed above).  Here the loops are mainly absent and it’s the magical qualities of tape-natural and tape recorders that take the centre stage.

A brief nine-minute Side A take us through murky vocal sludge with chanted mouth-shapes pitched down until they throb like veins.  This is a never-ending source of wonder to me – the beauty of any human voice, in any language chopped and screwed into pieces.  There’s something of the ghostly universal in our wet mouths and pre-language sing-songs.  After time a gloopy synth rises and falls like a slowed down landscape, oak trees grow in reverse and silently shrink into tight acorns.

Side B is a wonderful pause-button shuffle and a pitched-down orchestral fog.  Case notes: Artem attends a jazz gig and dictas the night.  Walking back to his apartment he mutters comments into the mic and takes both these tapes and sprinkles them with heavy hallucinogenic dust.

The end result is part solo-tape slosh, a wonderful brain-scramble of pinched wheels and FFW scree, part free-jam in a No-Neck style; untutored, informal and confident.

The coda takes that button-jam into new territory; I feel that I can see between the sharp interjections into another world where each personal narrative is open to edit and re-recording. An ever changing past and present, a uniquely evolving history at one point linked and uncoupled from each and every other actor in the plan.

Jesus…this is some heavy tape shit.

All essential – what the hell did you think I was gonna say?

Dugan Kelly Bandcamp

Falt Bandcamp

-ooOOoo-

remarkable plimsoll squeak: rfm on kostis kilymis, helictite and quisling meet

July 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
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Kostis Kilymis – A Void (Organised Music from Thessaloniki)

Helictite – ‘Nicked’  Live at The Old Police House, Gateshead (Fuckin’ Amateurs)

Quisling Meet – Last Quizzle (Friends Recordings)

 kosits kilymis

Kostis Kilymis – A Void (Organised Music from Thessaloniki) CD and digital album

As a rule I never read any press release or artist statements that come with the submissions to Midwich Mansions (Newcastle branch) before I settle down at my tripewriter.

Most importantly this is a desire to stay clear of internal word-bias.  For example…if I know your freek jam was recorded in the Brazilian rain forest with shards of broken glass my mind finds it hard to ignore the hot & wet, mirrored-silver-shard vibes.

But there’s also a part of me that shivers at an artist’s description (or worse – the label’s description) of the music I’m about to listen to.  The desire to sound highfalutin’ and worthy leads the best of us into bumbling, alienating art-speak and that makes my head rattle with incomprehension.

However I make an exception for Kostis Kilymis and his empire of OMFT whose brief, clear and informative notes perfectly set the context for my next half hour of listening.

As Kostis tells me these are recordings of ‘nothing.’  I guess your regular sound engineer would declare these tracks empty of music being as they are carefully stitched together field recordings laced with occasional micro-platinum electronics.  They are of course full of sound.

Crisp sound!

Vital sound!!

All-encompassing sound!!!

A rubber-mutter heralds the start to ‘The Commons’ and features some remarkable plimsoll squeak. Elsewhere the coiled rush of traffic roars like concrete waves and people, real people chatter below the threshold of my understanding.

‘Down there (la-bas)’ crackles with infectious clicks and whirrs, street noise and colourful birdsong. The tension is tugging at my ears, the old skin on my hands puckers-up in fleshy peaks.  This is body music without the tyranny of beats.

Memory gongs strike on ‘Stay the Year’ with that distinctive locked-groove click undercutting some domestic activity (brushing with a stiff broom perhaps) as the solitary door-hinge squeal plays like the tiniest horn.

The psychic space is tightened for atmospheric closer ‘Another Room’ with some really nice close-mic clutter and rattling of brittle plastics in the Pocket Jazz style pioneered by one Robert Ridley-Shackleton.

Oh yes…this piece is altogether more raffish liked the striped blouse of a gondolier.

Yet again the outside is brought in with swooshing traffic and distant birds filling my room while I glace sideways at the rain making clear dots and dashes on the window, a wet Morse.

As the piece fades to a close I realise the rich sound world we live in is tapping on the door asking for house room.

“If you got ears.  You gotta listen.”

(Van Vliet 1980)

helictite

Helictite – ‘Nicked’  Live at The Old Police House, Gateshead (Fuckin’ Amateurs) Recycled cassette

Real end-of-an-era junk this – two times!

‘Nicked’ marks the last ever Fuckin’ Amateurs release.  That’s right!  With over 100 indescribable, uncategorisable tapes/CD-rs and the rare vinyl offering F#A! have blown ragged holes in the North East N-AU for almost exactly a decade.

Whether these tapes were given away or shoved through letter boxes our friends in Blyth, Northumberland,  have finally decided enough is enough and shifted their chaotic energy into other areas.

So what are we left with?  Apart from a massive discography creating a document of what it meant to live, work and play in this Northern scene this tape cannily becomes a summary of all that came before.

Live to cassette recording (check), blistering chaotic performance (check), muchos crowd chatter and conversation (check) homemade sleeve, recycled tape and DIY as fuck (check).   The spirit of F#A! is pure to the last drop.

And that’s where the next body-blow arrives.  This tape documents what will most certainly be the last performance from Newcastle’s wildest, most unruly, most misunderstood noise/improv big band – Helictite.  Mirroring F#A! Helictite have played around the edges of a variety of scenes for the last 10 years led by their only constant – the cosmic joker – Yassen Roussev.  Under Yassen’s haphazard tutelage Helictite have scraped the edges of heaven with their no-rules improv shows, delighting, annoying and baffling audiences in equal amounts.

yassen

For an under-the-radar unit they have clocked up some impressive stats: a kinship with Faust led to an in-audience guerrilla style double-header in Edinburgh.   Yas talked his way into a slimmed down Helictite live soundtracking Wallace Shawn’s play ‘The Fever’ over 3 nights.   His close links to independent cinema resulted in oodles of futuristic film improv scores.  Helictite played in Yorkshire’s biggest cave, broke a huge pottery dwarf, worked with a bevy of dancers, set fire to all manner of things and disregarded noise restrictions wherever they went.

My personal favourite?  One outrageous fifteen-piece performance (including five goddamn kit drummers) alienating hundreds of indie-kids waiting patiently for The Dirty Projectors to play.

Such is the hubbub created around them they even spawned an unofficial tribute band – Phalictite – with a brief so stringent no member was allowed to play the same instrument twice.

But, ever the psychedelic explorer, Yassen has moved on and decamped to the USA to cause a star-spangled panic in his new home.  God bless ‘im.

This final version of Helictite (but of course the line-up changed for each performance) contains a mellower blend: solo bass drum and organ battle it out for a while.  Guitar noise gives way graciously to a sweet xylophone solo.   Yas’ sax –often consciously absent from performances – is on fine honking form.  The general bluster and energy is high in the mix and while the playing is free it’s also wild, untutored and unconscious.  Non-musicians and non-players were always welcomed with open arms making this group such a delight to witness and a joy to play with.

I get the impression groups of players were camped in different rooms and Martin (F#A! chief) is waltzing between them, or the band are wandering around the audience.  Whatever the plan this is a leg-remix.  Whatever is happening here it’s undeniably Helictite.

OK – time to dry them eyes and rewind.

I’ve no idea where you’ll find this tape – the last batch I saw were being handed out at random to drinkers in Newcastle’s Free Trade Inn.  Yassen distinctive laugh cackling as he forced his way through the comfortable middle-class clientele, “take this tape…it’s me playing with Tina Turner ” he yelped as confused fingers gripped the proffered cassettes nervously.

For more on F#A! be sure to check the Discogs  site but remember at least half of what you read is lies!

quisling meet

Quisling Meet – Last Quizzle (Friends Recordings) Cassette x2

Rich and luxuriant long-form drones/riff-scapes from guitar and bass that remind me of contemporary Dead C and/or/at-the-same-time the sort of stuff associated with Grim Humour fanzine (circa 1987).

Tape one: Volume levels are set for stun and each moment is FULL of FUZZ and RUMBLE.  The occasional let-up from the mayhem involves a Clanger’s style feedback howling – no doubt some machine is being tortured – until the RUMBLE continues like a bad tempered juggernaut.

Song structures are hinted at, even attempted for a few moments (the bit I’m listening to now sounds like Suicide or something – all pulse and throb) before being crushed under the weight of the frantic electronic squealing.

Tape two: Like Skullflower coughing through a watering can!  This is both fractured and all-pervasive –  which is a pretty odd mix when you think about it.  The feedback peals like tinnitus and never seems to stop (high end) while earth-moving bass gouges deep troughs out of granite (low end).

Some ferocious shredding lifts the final movements out of the grubby-grubby gutter pushing the sound skyward, higher and higher, circling dangerously close to the sun.

Julian Cope!  Where are you baby?  This one’s right up your street man.

 

omft Bandcamp

Kostis Kilymis site

F#A! Discogs Page

Quisling Meet Bandcamp

-ooOOoo-

rooting for barnacles : rfm on power moves library, stef ketteringham, sun skeletons and star turbine

July 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Various Artists  – (Excavation Series 7) You/In/Be/Arc (Power Moves Library)

Stef Ketteringham – More Guitar Arrangements (Crow Versus Crow)

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – In Pink Dust (Doubledotdash?)

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – Permanent Powers (Doubledotdash?)

Star Turbine – Night Sky Isolation (Invisible City Records)

power moves

Various Artists  – (Excavation Series 7) You/In/Be/Arc (Power Moves Library) sold out cassette and free digital album

Hard-hitting, gut-punching, brain-scrambling missive from the collective history of mankind.

Once again Power Moves Library act as curator and editor to bring you, dearest listener, a carefully compiled recording with brains, taste and soul.

This time it’s Kev Cahill who has sourced all his sounds from youtube, vimeo and ubuweb.  A simple method that explodes the myth of the wise crate-digging grey-beard (with a full wallet) into a completely open-source, DIY approach that we can all get behind and ape like monkeys.

The mixtape as revolutionary act!

Of course the genius is not in the rarity of the sources or the skill of the mixing technique (like…yawn man) but in the notion of what sounds go perfectly with what – gamelan and ocean waves –Beckett and Indian Raags – it’s all totally ham & eggs!

For those of you that like a little more detail (spoiler alert – read no more of this chapter if you are a blind-eye voyager) expect the poetical anger of Amiri Baraka, gentle spoken French (?), gospel and blues moans, lone xylophone ‘plongs’, Billie Whitelaw’s whispering, Harry Bertoia’s vibrations in and amongst found sound and environmental recordings.

As I’d expect from a fine guitarist/curator the six-stringer appears in various forms (most notably on side two) showing the breath of the Flying V from drone, skronk to chamber-quartet ecstasy.  The balance is provided with springy tabla, Orca whoops and Delia Derbyshire and Barry Bermange’s spooky dream recordings.

The magpie visits anger, anxiety, bliss and desperation in a stream so emotionally deep I’m a little wrung-out on listening.  These recordings elicit a response from all my feeble chakras making this one of the most human things I’ve listened to in ages.  Gosh!

Like that gold record they sent up into space on Voyager; a recorded message of humanity’s desperate need to make sound, to communicate in the most natural way possible – to make music.

Get another rocket ready NASA – Power Moves gotta message for the cosmos.

stef ketteringham

Stef Ketteringham – More Guitar Arrangements (Crow Versus Crow) cassette and digital album

These semi-improvised guitar pieces might be loosely arranged but are played with a bright fury and focused intensity that I’ve not heard in years.

Stef spanks this plank with a canyon-wide spectrum of feeling.  At one end we have ‘suspicious man who’s never even seen a guitar before’ to ultra-precise and mathematically measured ‘ZOOT HORN ROLLO-isms’ that chime like cold stars.

The busy froth of twang on side one paints several pictures in my head.  The tangled wood and barbed wire of ‘If and When’ become the clotted metre-wide micro-environment seen from a moving train where weeds rule supreme.  A snatch of sung melody sweeps down the embankment, unconcerned with the swirl of notes above.  Dust collecting on old bookshelves is the 3D brain-image summoned by ‘Divide’s’ spacious and geometric riffs.    I’m particularly taken with ‘That’ all arthritic knuckles and sunburned hands, shiny as polished chestnuts with its ham-fisted flamenco flourishes bruising the strings.

This is most certainly hardcore!

Side two is a more melancholy affair and starts with the heart-lurching pressure you feel when you know he/she’s leaving forever (refer to ‘Churchgoer’ dear listener).  This empty ache is enflamed on ‘Killing Flaw’ an eruption of post-blues as poignant as that exploded shed thing.  My mind flips open on the final piece ‘Cry & Sing 3’ where the heavily amplified guitar is rattled and ‘poinged’ with a metal ruler making gilded rivers run from the bone speakers.

The real genius here lies in the two versions of ‘Grimes/Cargill’ a snaked-hipped blues taken in two different directions: one lyrical and melodic played with an early-morning vigour, the other, an end-of-the-day hung-over stubble.  Both feature the ‘slap-slap’ of Stef’s sparely deployed bass drum cleverly punctuating the movements.

Telepathic art from Crow Versus Crow summarises the process of composition and recording (unpretentious rehearsal room/stray cat isolation/crisp sellotape stains) making this the perfect package.

sun skeletons in pink dust

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – In Pink Dust (Doubledotdash?) cassette and digital album

The wonderfully named $un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio are indeed a three piece.  But that’s where their similarity to beards like Cream or The Experience ends.

Employing Drums, Saxophone/Electronics and Shahi Baaja these Thames Valley jokers get all IN A SILENT WAY on your ass with the sidelong ‘Workin’ The Church Shift.’

The focus is on blank space, placement and long-form growth.  So this improvisation grows like moss over a log; carefully seeking out nooks and crannies to take hold, working in sympathy with their fellow organisms, leaving blanks on the sour ground.

It’s a drifter, the forlorn lines of saxophone become long exhalations, the shimmering Shahi Baaja a heat mist, the subtle and sparse drums a slowing heartbeat as you become hypnotised by the horizon.

Side two probes the sensitive ‘Solar Plexus’ like it’s rooting for barnacles in a rock pool.  Each instrument gently wanders into each other, soft-edge collisions that slowly merge into one ur-drone.

At times it’s hard to tell what’s what with percussive sax, textural drum skins and melodic Shahi Baaja; each voice subtly moving into the foreground for some lazy stretch then retreating back into the collective fug.

With nothing as crass as a solo this is true groop-mind aktion – threeways.

sun skeleton permanent powers

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – Permanent Powers (Doubledotdash?) cassette and digital album

More long-form lichen jams from the Thames Valley trio.

‘That’s Fine, It Doesn’t Matter’: A mighty slow swing to this one like the world’s longest pendulum swooping east to west across the globe.  Time is punched out with simple double-hits on the snare, a dulcimer-like melody and the shallow soaring of hot breath.  The Get it Up Yers Trio explore these moments rolling them like mandarin segments in the palm of the hand – wondering who’s juiciest.

‘Life is a Joke’: This time the spirit of Jan Garbarek is channelled through an almost military snare shudder; sheer plucked ‘banjo’ to mash up the theme tune to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century with a Krautrock Cowboy!

The final moments spice up the motorik with a wailing horn as wild as Giora Feidman.

RFM EXTRA

  • Ahead of the game for once you can actually catch this lot live soon on their weedender weekender tour with the mighty WOVEN SKULL: 21st July (Gateshead) 22nd July (Middlesbrough) 23rd July (Todmorden).
  • Introduce yourselves to: Breadman (drums), Crinkil (alto sax/electronics), Krang (shahi baaja).
  • The super-pretty glitch flower art work on ‘In Pink Dust’ is designed by the unstoppable Crow Versus Crow
  • They dig the late Chet Baker!

star turbine

Star Turbine – Night Sky Isolation (Invisible City Records) cassette and digital album

Star Turbine bring their unique improvisers vocabulary to the UK again gracing the N-AU with coiled ‘skoinks’ and leathery ‘whuffs’.

Working backwards from the sound to the source becomes a futile exercise – it could be tape, radio interference, highly-processed computer files or bowed vinyl records.  All have a place in the Star Turbine arsenal; but if course it’s not how impressive your tabletop looks, it’s how you swing it.

And swing it they do.  This mature duo (Sindre Bjerga & Claus Poulsen) have been working together for around 6 years and I count at least 21 releases on their Discogs page.  This familiarity with each other’s approach leads to top class performances on both sides of this live tape

Gateshead’s Soundroom is a glitchy, almost funky performance with complex set pieces including: smeared gob-rot from Sindre and sooty coughing textures from Claus.  Both meld into an undeniable wholeness, an organic fullness of sound and presence.

Moods shift fast like clouds on a windy day; they scud quickly – one moment dark and crumpled, the next breezy and slapstick.

We move south to Brighton’s Coachwerks for side two.

  • It’s a rumbler! A cacophonous tearing of found-sound opens the set.
  • It’s a thumper! Felt-headed mallets beat a lowly tattoo alongside sharp metal cracks.
  • It’s a lurker! Strange stains appear on the carpet, an oily filth fills the air. The electric crackle of bad vibes and virus make me clap my h*nds over my e*rs.

And while improvisation often gets a drubbing for being highfalutin’ or overly-academic this is music that is rooted in real life.  Fingers and mouths, elbows and knees wrenching uninvited sounds from the magicians sleeve.

Power Bliss!

Power Moves Library

Crow Versus Crow

Doubledotdash? / $un $keletons Bandcamp

Invisible City Records

-ooOOoo-

scything threshers harvest plastic babies: luke vollar on filthxcollins, rob lye, bbblood, posset & stuart chalmers

June 26, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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FILTHxCOLLINS – Demo 2017 (No label)

Rob Lye – Ink (Stairwell Editions)

BBBlood/Posset/Stuart Chalmers – Delirium Cutlet Impaste (Crow Versus Crow)

 filth collins

FILTHxCOLLINS – Demo 2017 (No label) digital album

FILTHxCOLLINS are a couple of scamps from Nottingham who play an extremely condensed, bastardized, version of Hardcore Punk and Death Metal –  Powerviolence.

Free of all excess baggage Powerviolence is the cross eyed cousin of Grindcore. Songs are very short and very fast with screamed or growled vocals, generally ending as abruptly as they start.

On a personal note I have been on a most enjoyable journey towards the rapidly beating heart of Grindcore and Powerviolence, getting a big kick from the espresso-like quality of hard and heavy music as lean and fat-free as a whippet and as cleansing as a full immersion in an icy plunge pool.

On a purely practical level, being able to take in an entire album in the car on the way to the supermarket has been supremely gratifying for the insatiable music fiend with not enough lounging time.

I bring my wholehearted recommendation of the FILTHxCOLLINS demo as a guy who has waded deep into the murky waters of extreme(ly fast) metal.  I have discovered some gems and I have inevitably come across some drek; heck like any genre it can get a bit samey but to me at least FILTHxCOLLINS have the X factor.

One of them does deep guttural vocals like a volcano with an ulcer while the other has a midrange shriek that makes him sound as if he is literally on fire. They both batter hard at their instruments but with the deadly precision of a venomous snake: alert, lithe and ready to fight. A sudden change in tempo or direction and then POW! The song is done.

There is a track called ‘Cameron’s Britain’, seven seconds of compacted fury that gives a fair idea of how the mood is on this miniature-masterpiece: pissed off.

I hope they have plans to do some t-shirts…I would love to see them live.

rob lye

Rob Lye – Ink (Stairwell Editions) cassette, limited-edition print and digital album

Rob Lye is at the nucleus of the English group Chora – a project that takes in junkyard-gamelan, rollicking communal freak-outs and head-hunting trance rituals.

Rob and I have history.  Back in the day Chora and my old group, Lanterns did a lot of gigs together in the UK and abroad: we shared a split CDr and did a number of collaborations. We once spent a night post-gig drinking whiskey and listening to records until the small hours. But before I drift off into misty-eyed reverie let’s take a look at this new lump of plastic from Rob following what has been a period of relative quietness musically.

Now given my preamble you may suggest that I would be biased due to my fondness for Rob as a person to which I would retort:

  1. a) I was a Chora fan before I was friendly with them and

  2. b) the no audience underground is literally crawling with nice guys and galls. A point our editor in chief has made much more eloquently in these pages previously.

So as wrist (i) and (ii) start with laps of tidal wash before bumping into crisp arpeggiated vanilla essence I opt for a track by track dissection:

  • Leaning. Loops of blue piano that advance and retreat like the tide on a secluded beach

  • Nape. Makes like an eddy in a downstream current or a chorus of bulbous toads languidly belching sunny tones

  • Off. A shaker is extrapolated beyond the realm of the circadian ant people

  • Lip. Wisps of candy tones, frayed at the edges drift like buoyant seeds ready to give new life on fertile land

  • “You’ve bought a curse to the table.” The processed ivories beat like the wings of a moth that has settled on your sleeping face

  • Ink. the mirage of a water wheel in sunlight, casting rainbows

  • ‘sham. sleepy head fuzzballs of obscure melody that have the same rapt sun warmed backwoods grace that has defined this fine debut

    delirum cutlet impaste

BBBlood/Posset/Stuart Chalmers – Delirium Cutlet Impaste (Crow Versus Crow) Sold out CDr with trippy fold-out collage and digital album

A triumphant three-way release from Crow Versus Crow by three gents with a fine body of work behind them. Knowing that they’re in intimidating company our trio of NA-U heavy-weights turn in exhilarating examples of fermented cerebrum boogie!
BBBlood – Absent Lottery

Paul (BBBlood) Watson presents a slow burning start.  Incidental sounds and background chatter slowly morph into grim corridors from which there is no exit. Watery sounds, static chunder and a strong ‘What’s behind the filthy curtain?’ vibe.

Bubbling and sizzling, an unsafe experiment involving Bunsen Burners and glass funnels crusted with white resin; the cavernous reverb and the scooter exiting the underground car park. A hasty retreat after a highly illegal cook up?

Scything threshers harvest plastic babies, the sinister breathing apparatus of a dead eyed humanoid or the haunting song of memories beneath damp soil.

More creepy field recordings, a sinister figure observing you from behind the hedge. A vortex of cogs and switches becoming more ghastly as it settles into its appalling form. A symphony of sickly frequencies expertly woven into a bruised tapestry of anti music.

Spellbinding.  Best enjoyed on cans.

Posset – What’s going on?

Double voices: the beautiful voice from foreign tongue (Bulgarian?) fed through the Posset machine, mumbles and murmurs.  Then oxide-rich saliva dribbled into the Posset cauldron with tongue-wagging vocal jaxx goes:

dodoliddleliddleow

A motley collection of sound-events chucked together like pick and mix. Robotic voices croak in unison, the voices are reversed, the pause button is sweaty. Joe is micromanaging the tiny soldiers that spring from the battery operated machines (Editor’s note: Like General Jumbo?).

He should be commended for his fine work within the sacred circle of the unfathomably odd.  Lips that soar like eagles, teeth that prowl like lions and an epiglottis that just won’t quit

Stuart Chalmers- Birth of the Bamboo

Bamboo sounds begin in hushed reverence, the sonics are deftly manipulated with pause and delay.

Forth-world exotica sheds its brightly-coloured feathers and increases the intensity. Patterns of stretched tape scree resulting in ear-throbbing thrum.  The lysergic quality makes it appear as if reality is slipping in and out of focus, the jungle idyll has turned into a feverish kaleidoscope of luminous algae and swivel-eyed reptiles.

A step down and change of gear; floated tones rise from the ground like mist as a lone flute plays us out…

So…by the time I’ve got my ass into gear to review this the CDrs are long gone, proof that just keeping up with underground music is a challenge.  But fear not – the digital version is available!

I’d say this would justify a fancy-pants heavy vinyl release such is the quality within, but heck, what do I know, right?

 

FILTHxCOLLINS

Stairwell Editions

Crow Versus Crow

-ooOOoo-

dental tang: rfm on aqua dentata, gareth js thomas, kwc, yaca, microdeform

June 19, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Aqua Dentata – One Day You Will Be a Painter (Echo Tango)

Gareth JS Thomas – Wandsworth Sports (Aphelion Editions)

KWC – Fruit Rosary Sacred Hour Service (Power Moves Library)

Yaca  – I (Ce chemin est le bon / Manjar Records)

Microdeform – Neural Regression (Aphelion Editions)

aqua dentata 2

Aqua Dentata – One Day You Will Be a Painter (Echo Tango) cassette

There’s not an ounce of flab on this whippet-like tape.

I’m not sure if such timeless music conceptually has a side one or side two (and the tape case is teasingly naked) but when I click ‘play’ a sinuous wave slowly oozes out the speakers like runny honey.

The gentlest shake (a greasy blue bag of salt perhaps) accompanies the sticky snake until “snip” it cuts out all sudden like.  What a tease you are Mr Nuttall!

But fear not Dentata-followers as complex coils of zinc-coated drones poke around my listening room like anxious lizards.

Slowly they build, blindly they roam.  Slick muscle slips over steel bone in concentric arcs.

Oddly the decaying dreams of each lizard/tone/wave can be viewed as plain as day.  A dull halo of images flicker at the leading edge of each sound.  At first they form a sort of pressure wave – the brooding bruise of a storm cloud.  After time they dry out and rattle as arthritic knuckle shuffles.

Finally my ears register the electronics tones as haw frost shimmering on silver birch or endless exhalations roaring from bronze lips.

‘Krak…’

…the tape judders to a halt and I’m back in the room; feeling fresh as an egg-cup full of lime juice.

gareth js thomas

Gareth JS Thomas – Wandsworth Sports (Aphelion Editions) cassette, CD and digital album

An intriguing tape that runs from Assault on Precinct 13 gang-synth-pulses to Neighbourhood Watch whimsy via the Australian Soap Opera.

The superb ranting on the opener ‘Lurk On My Block Get Hurt On My Block’ is both semi-comprehensible and threatening as it phases in-and-out of the great sleazy wings of drone-synth heaving left to right.

Surveillance and security is pumped-up on steroids for ‘Go Home’ a throbbing bassline whacked through some form of effect that multiplies things by very many factors. If I’m not mistaken ‘the plod’ riddim mimics Juliet Bravo’s heavy footfall into the gloomy incident room.  The back-room boys huff on that ether they found in the lock-up causing everything to

s—-l——–o————w                                                       d—-o——-w—————–n.

Elsewhere a sampler ‘trips’ down the stairs making things as messy as court drawings – amateurish pastels over which renewed street ranting (a new field recording genre – the new dawn chorus?) explodes briefly.

Mrs Jarret causes trouble for our Australian teenage sweethearts and is carefully mashed beneath an electric avalanche, whirring flywheel and more ‘plod’ rhythms.

But what I get most of all is a sense of dangerous fun…almost a Dada-esque approach, daring you not to listen.

KWC

KWC – Fruit Rosary Sacred Hour Service (Power Moves Library) CDr with smart postcards, sold out cassette and free digital album

Another vital PML release!

“Another vital release,” you say, “are you sure?”

Reader…I am.

great dictaphonic swoops of sepia-tinted sound / the initial source material is religious, baptist I believe / the spiritual weight is felt with heavy presence / like a riot of bees in my ear / constant re-ordering and waggling / deep, deep found recordings are pushed through the condenser mic miracle / transforming them not to angels on a pin head / but the vengeful ones with claymores / snatches of melody gently float on occasion / chopped and screwed becomes slowed-down and fucked-with / sound morphs into one melancholic wave / dusted / out-of-focus but undeniably there / pulling and pushing / subtle…a powerful tide, a hectic blues / repetitious spoken word become brain mangles / breaking words and meanings into grey shifting pebbles / piled up in to a precarious cairn / hail marys and ritualistic bingo / self-help becomes text-sound gumbo / fylkingen with lap steel blunts

Yaca

Yaca – I (Ce chemin est le bon / Manjar Records) CD and digital album

Oh…beautiful rattle!

One new duo from two wise voices: Rodrigo Montoya (Brazil) on Shamisen and Ignacio Moreno-Fluxa (Chile) on e-guitar/electronics mesh their sounds together into a rich savoury lattice.

The aptly named ‘Vertigo’, sets the course towards a dizzying sense of panic and loss of control but each step is very carefully measured.  Flickering, dry crackles and pops are wrenched from the slack strings while a cloud-deep strumming soars overhead.  The final moment explores the submission of freefall in detail…the final acceptance of eternal nothingness.

Phew!

The other lengthy piece ‘Power’ starts with the gentlest whirr of machinery and a slight dental tang.  Soon I’m lost in a listening swamp; thick drone leaves brushing my face as roots catch in my battered Converse.

Toothy dolphins blow pinched squeals from rubbery blowholes – thick oil is spread across the water and soon full of sonic detritus.

(note: there is a reassuring ‘liveness’ to these recordings with the unmistakable ‘clunk’ of picking up and putting down various doodads and gizmos)

At the twelve minute mark things settle (the oil – the troubled water) into a patient thrum with banjo-like Shamisen accompaniment peaking and building into stiff ecstatic peaks – Loaded era V.U. though a min’yo lens.

Oh…beautiful shimmer!

microdeform

Microdeform – Neural Regression (Aphelion Editions) CDr and digital album

Turntablist (L McConaghy) ploughs straight into a surface noise symphony on this handsome disc.  The fuxxing scutter of the vinyl becomes a star.

>>>   <<<<      >>>>>>   >>>> <><>><>><>    >>>>>>    >>>>>    <<<<>><>>><><>>><>>>   ><>

Ghostly echoes of otherness sound like distant fog horns muted and damp.

///////////\//\/\\/\\////\\///\\\\\\ \\\\\\\   \\\\\   \\////\/\/\  /\////\\/\/\\///\\\                                        \///\//\\\\//\/\

Place the horns on a spinning disc of sandpaper to smooth off the edges; sweep iron-filings into the groove.

//\\/\/\\//\\/\/\/\/////\\\////\/\\/\/\\/////      \/\/\/\/\\\\\\\/\/\\/\\\           \/\\/\\\/\\\\\\/\/\///\/\/

A series of smears and smudges

\/\///\  /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\\\\\/\/\//\/////\\/\/\\\\/\\\\///\/\\\\\\//\/\////\/\/\/\/\\/\\\/\/\/

Do you need me to spell it out?

 

Aphelion Editions

Aqua Dentata/Echo Tango

Power Moves Library

Ce Chemin est le Bon / Manjar Records

 

-ooOOoo-

lick out the jams: rfm on jute gyte, jamie drouin & hannes lingens, a.i.r tapes 1: excavation series 5 and yan jun & ben owen

June 10, 2017 at 10:03 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Jute Gyte – The Sparrow (X – Ray Records / Blue Tapes)

Jamie Drouin & Hannes Lingens- Alluvium (Intonema)

Various Artists – A.I.R Tapes 1: Excavation Series 5 (Power Moves Library)

Yan Jun & Ben Owen – Swimming Salt (Organised Music from Thessaloniki)

jute gyte

Jute Gyte – The Sparrow (X – Ray Records / Blue Tapes) Single-sided clear vinyl 12 inch with engraved ‘b’ side and digital album

The deeply psychedelic nature of Black Metal: the ingrained grot, indistinct momentum and distain of fancy technique hugely appeals to me.  This is ‘feeling music’ concerned with emotion above all.  Oh to be a Norwegian teenager in the early 90’s when it all kicked off!

But since those halcyon days both Black Metal and I have grown up (a little).  And while there is still plenty of room for true Norwegian Metallers you’re more likely to come across darkly-experimental artists like Jute Gyte in the scene than them church-burners and jail-birds.

The brittle bones of this particular beautiful stain begin with a red-tinged swooshing thunder.  The seemingly endless build galloping like Sleipnir over a one-chord velvet strum.

A plague of uncompromising screams mangle throats on the verge of panic making ‘The Sparrow’ seem almost old-school.  And then it all goes very quiet…

…ghostly clicks and reverberations tinker through my headphones, decaying and rotten smears of dark sound are punctuated with slowly-roasted, grumbling vocal.  The lack of volume has no affect on the intensity, as this restraint is uniquely spooked and unsettling.

Noise-mongers will rejoice when the guitars collapse back into the mix with a Shields-esque tremolo-effect fluttering like a thousand tiny birds – the sparrow perhaps in all its scruffy oil-slick glory!

The flip side (in reality a free-to-grab digital download when you buy this see-through disc) is orchestral in the best Metal mould.  Deep swathes of sound become a coal-black rainbow on ‘Monadanom’ arching across a cruel indifferent sky.

Through the tone-clusters thin-steel rattles and soars (like the metal strips used to bind blocks of house bricks). It’s very nature and chemistry dictates a signature sound – high and tight.

After thirteen minutes a number of these grim swooping arcs seem to lock into place revealing a new landscape, barren for sure but not without hope.

I think I hear slo-mo singing bowls wrestle with bronze fake gongs in the fading minutes; but perhaps the extremities of passion have blunted my ears.  Whatever is occurring that burnished boom is vibrating every atom in my head like an exquisite psalm.

This desert may be almost featureless but the stark beauty takes the breath away.

Music for moon landings!

 intonema digisleeve

Jamie Drouin & Hannes Lingens- Alluvium (Intonema) CD

A fitting title for this ear-silt; a subtle, almost-there, grit that builds up in pale layers.

The brief pieces (many around 3 minutes mark) all seem to document an action: unboxing something, gently bowing something, methodically rubbing something with cryptic knocks and wheezing adding hot spice.

Further investigation reveals these actions come via Jamie Drouin’s basic electronics and Hannes Lingen’s floor tom and/or snare drum as they listen intently to each other on expensive earphones.

It’s easy to imagine you are inside the friction (now the snake-like, descending hiss of uncoiling sellotape, now the busy scrub of glasspaper on marble) or the low electric moan (a dying medical machine, a looped breast pump) as it seems to bore inside your very soul.

For something so lowercase and subtle this Alluvium is exerting a powerful influence over my ear-bristles.

The sound itself is king and to keep the composition clear of unnecessary chaff, especially in a duo situation is testament to the control and lack of improvisers-ego in both Doruin and Lingens.  It’s only on ‘06’ – that deals in an ever-so-slightly more assertive sound – a rubbery raspberry that putters like an outboard motor – could you say these folk lick out anyone’s jams.

The longest piece ‘07’ is still loose-limbed and beautiful at a stately 15 minutes long.  It begins by conjuring up a polite crowd caught on malfunction mp3’s; the code starting to buckle and warp in that wonderful see-sawing motion.  Then a wet rope being twisted in the rigging interrupts the human recordings; some dry-heaving swells sing like angels and someone starts a terrible tap dance.

Truly sublime listening art.

air tape

Various Artists – A.I.R Tapes 1: Excavation Series 5 (Power Moves Library) Sold Out Cassette and free digital album

You had to move super fast to bag this tape in any physical form as it seemed to sell out, on both sides of the Atlantic, in a matter of days.  I felt like a chump to miss out but was happy to pick up the virtual scraps from the digital table thanks to the essential free download offered by the very generous Power Moves Library.

These well-curated mixtapes (and I use that term with awe and the greatest respect) come from vintage radio recordings of Indian Classical music captured ‘in the field’ by scholar and No Audience maven Phong Tran in 1996-97.

The fact Phong has plucked these transient recordings from the very air with a magpie’s ears makes this all the more magical.  This curation took dedication and judgement.  We are not worthy!

Side ‘A’ features some outrageously warped sitar playing, heavy as Sabbath but with that flat-fingered funk of Monk which just peaks and peaks and peaks; stuttering spoken word interludes; chewy toffee-like ragas that seem to stretch time when coupled with their reverberating tabla-bombs.  All jaggery sweet.

Impossibly deep rumbling strings open Side ‘B’ and play out some creation fantasy – this is real crack in the cosmic egg/universal ohm/blind idiot god territory.  Such supreme melancholy!  I’m close to welling up man.

A quick news update (in English) and more chat leads into some heart-breakingly sad singing that definitely pushes me over the edge.  But I’m not crying into my beer for long as the penultimate recording hauls ass, hurtling at impressively unwise speeds though (musical) hairpins and hard shoulders – the final fade-out fuzzes and fitz’ like the contemporary tape collage from the mighty Burselm slag heaps.

Do I need to say it?  Essential!

Ed’s note: just in case you missed it – all future Power Moves Library releases will be available in the UK via Crow versus Crow and vice versa for our friends in the Americas.  N-AU across the ocean la!

20170610_105408

 

Yan Jun & Ben Owen – Swimming Salt (Organised Music from Thessaloniki) CD and digital album

Thirty-eight minutes of slowly uncoiling silver fern recordings.

This unabashed and confident record exerts a steely glaze trained on the empty and distantly imagined absence.  The tools?  Electronics, feedback, op amps and radio are working busily – coaxing tiny, granular sounds from their private holes in fine detail.

In many ways this is a classic two-layered recording: the hiss of a cracked pot vs the faint thud and rattle of movement.  Like equal partners in an equation each voice leans in to each other, supporting and bracing a structure that organically sprouts five distinct limbs.  Like this…

  • Fidgeting static, a canvas for the meek feedback tones, drops away to allow some dub-like drops in pressure. The white throb, once a rude thumb in the ear, slips into complete silence.
  • Breath like water fired through a hose is captured in a watchmaker’s basement. Dexterous hands move with purpose, delicately balancing the tension between cog and spring, engineering the never-never of potential energy – delayed power gratification.
  • A faint voice is heard through the ionosphere’s thick blanket; sick tones are peeled off like dollars from a grubby, foul-smelling, bundle to eventually settle into one citric slice.
  • Pure harmony spirals out of the miasma – bone dry. A warm purring and some form of engraving machine start seriously flirting; finishing each other’s sentences, coquettishly playing with their hair.
  • Sucking dull solder from an antique circuit board. The collapsing death of once electric sounds.

Lovers with hot new ears.  Apply yourselves!

 

Blue Tapes / X-Ray Records

Intonema

Power Moves Library

Organised Music From Thessaloniki

-ooOOoo-

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